Different Behavioral Explanations of the Neolithic Transition from Foraging to Agriculture: A Review

This article examines how well two parallel behavioral approaches, one in economics and the other in anthropology, explain the economic evolution of Neolithic societies, particularly their transit from foraging to agriculture. Both assume rational optimizing behavior. It is argued that satisficing theories provide a superior explanation of transition (and non-transition) by some hunter-gatherers. Furthermore, many of the concepts associated with neoclassical economics are shown to be inadequate for analyzing the choice problems involved. Moreover, it is argued that all behavioral theories considering the relationship between human behavior and economic evolution need to pay attention to the way that decision-making is embedded in social structures. It is unlikely that a single theory will be able to explain the economic evolution of all societies when social structures and other relevant variables differ between communities.


Issue Date:
Jan 19 2016
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
DOI and Other Identifiers:
10.22004/ag.econ.229769
ISSN: 1444 8890 (Other)
Record Identifier:
https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/229769
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/229769
Total Pages:
33
JEL Codes:
D01; O10; P00; Q10
Series Statement:
Economic Theory, Applications and Issues
75




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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